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Alpbach Lab 01: The Moral Brain: Framing, Values, and Democracy

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Hauptschule
Breakout / Lab
english language

Recent research has shown that most reasoning is automatic, non-controllable, and unconscious and that minds cannot process facts by themselves, but depend on mental structures called “frames”. In this lab, participants will find out about the most up-to-date Cognitive Science research on political language, cognition, and decision-making. Frames that are predominant in current European public discourses will be analysed and discussed. Tools that help develop frames for specific political issues will be practiced together, and groundwork for successful cognitive campaigning will be laid.

Speakers

Researcher, International Computer Science Institute, University of California at Berkeley Abstract
Recent research in the Cognitive Sciences has unveiled new truths about human reasoning and political decision-making. It has been shown that up to 98 percent of everyday reasoning is automatic, non-controllable, and unconscious. It has been disclosed that language is understood via physical simulations of, e.g., emotions and movement. And it has been uncovered that minds cannot process facts by themselves, but heavily depend on mental structures called  frames, which can lend different and even opposite meanings to political facts and issues.
Frames in public discourse strongly affect issue stances of the electorate. And it is frames, not facts, that usually decide elections.
Moreover, frames in political discourse tend to have implicit moral narratives, tapping into conservative  right-leaning or progressive  left-leaning value systems, and thus determine the public s moral viewpoint on issues such as the environment, taxation, education, or the economy.
Democratic discourses invite and in fact require a variety of frames. However, analyses of European public discourse show a clear trend toward one-sided framings of many of the most pressing issues of our times, with serious outcomes. For one, democratic discourse itself is in danger. Moreover, groups that fail to establish the right frames make their positions incomprehensible and erode potential support amongst the electorate.
In this lab, participants will find out about the most up-to-date Cogni-tive Science research on political language, cognition, and decision-making. Frames that are predominant in current European public dis-courses will be analyzed and discussed. Tools that help develop frames for specific political issues will be practiced together, and groundwork for successful cognitive campaigning will be laid.

Dr. Elisabeth WEHLING

Researcher, International Computer Science Institute, University of California at Berkeley

2007-2013 Cognitive Science, Linguistics, and Ideology Research, University of California, Berkeley
since 2013 Cognitive Science, Linguistics, and Ideology Research, University of California, Berkeley and International Computer Science Institute, Berkeley